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Fall Salad with Pork, Buttery Croutons and Basil Vinaigrette

August 21, 2015

Dinner salads are a fresh and easy to make dinner for family and friends. I like to use up bits and pieces of leftover produce from my crisper drawers, tossing them into salads instead of letting them go to waste. This ingredient list is a suggestion. You should use whatever you like or have on hand!

The croutons make this salad special, but if you’re short on time, go ahead and use store bought croutons. Either way this salad is delish.

Fall Salad with Pork, Buttery Croutons and Basil Vinaigrette

Servings:
4

Ingredients

For the Croutons:

  • 4 slices Italian-style bread, diced into 1-inch cubes, about 2 cups
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

For the Basil Vinaigrette:

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons basil pesto (purchased or homemade)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil

For the Salad:

  • 1 pork tenderloin from the master recipe, thinly sliced
  • Remaining roasted vegetables from master recipe
  • 6 oz mixed salad greens
  • Chopped fresh herbs from you garden if you have them (basil, dill, thyme, mint, oregano, chives), optional
  • 1 1/2 cups halved grape tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup crumbled goat’s milk feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped kalamata olives

Instructions

  1. Heat a frying pan over medium heat and add the butter. When it melts, add the bread cubes and a sprinkle of salt and brown them in the hot fat, turning them as they crisp, about 5 minutes total. They will soak up all the butter in the pan like sponges. You may need to reduce the heat if they over brown. Transfer the croutons to a plate and cool.
  2. Combine the vinegar, smashed garlic and a sprinkle of salt and pepper in a small bowl. Allow to mingle and flavor the vinegar for at least 10 minutes then remove the garlic and discard it. Whisk in the pesto and olive oil and taste. Add more salt and a grind or two of pepper if it needs it.
  3. Warm the pork and vegetables in the microwave oven for about 1 minute. You don’t want them hot but not cold either. Just a little warm.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the greens, herbs (if using), tomatoes, cheese, olives, pork, vegetables and about 1/3 cup of the vinaigrette. Toss to combine and taste for seasoning, adding more salt, pepper or vinaigrette if it needs it. Divide the salad among 4 plates or shallow bowls and top with the croutons and a drizzle of extra vinaigrette.
By Carla Snyder
Carla has spent the past 30 years in the food world as a caterer, artisan baker, cooking school teacher, food writer and author of 6 cook books including the James Beard nominated Big Book of Appetizers. Her passion is sharing fresh, cooked-from-scratch weeknight meals that cut prep time and practically eliminate that nightly sink full of dishes.

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